New Zealand’s geology has an interesting feature – naturally occurring hot pools. The Maori word for hot springs ‘waiariki’ is also the word early Maori used to describe the Central Plateau’s volcanic region – most of New Zealand’s hot pools are found in the north.
There is a mix of commercial and completely free hot pools to plan a visit – with each of them trying to rejuvenate your tinana (body), hinengaro (mind) and wairua (spirit).
Ngawha has 8 pools of varying temperatures suitable for all ages. Though not as flash as many pools Ngawha has a certain rustic appeal and is very popular in the area.
Parakai is home private thermal pools that are found both indoors and outdoors. With BBQ’s and picnic areas Parakai is a great place to spend time with the family.
Located 45 minutes north of Auckland is the Waiwera natural thermal springs that offer sauna, spa and massage centres.
Miranda Hot springs
The Miranda Hot Springs en route to Auckland has three large pools with varying temperatures. The camping grounds with cabins, chalets set amidst a vast land of 2 acres makes a lovely overnight stay.
Getting around in North Island
Rental car hire allows you to travel around the North Island of New Zealand, in your own time and at your own pace. A self-drive rental car holiday is the ideal way to travel for nearly on a gravel access road. The route may not be however suitable for larger campervans and caravans. The pedestrian tracks that lead to the hot-pools can be wet and slippery.
Water taxis that are available for rental are most often the preferred choice to get to secluded beaches.
Useful tips while visiting hot springs:
- ALWAYS check the temperature of the water before you get in, especially in non-commercial hot pools, as the temperatures can vary quite a bit on an hour-to-hour basis.
- It is generally not advised to put your head underwater in a thermal hot pool. There are some exemptions in some commercial hot pool complexes. Please check with staff at the hot pool BEFORE you go under.
- If you’re in a non-commercial hot pool, the safest option is to always keep your head above the water, avoid swallowing the water and do not bathe if you have any open wounds.
- Walk to and from the pool carefully – the walking tracks can be slippery